The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is hitting the gas on its support of area accelerator programs.
As part of the 2016 KC Accelerator Challenge, the Kauffman Foundation announced Tuesday that it’s awarded a total of $840,000 in grants to eight local venture accelerator programs.
“Our goal is to increase entrepreneurial success in Kansas City through high-quality support programs because we know from recent research that more startups lead to higher productivity, wage growth and quality of life for the entire community,” Kauffman Foundation CEO Wendy Guillies said in a release. “We believe the startups are empowered when they connect to established resources. The KC Accelerator Challenge directly supports organizations that are demonstrably increasing early-stage entrepreneurs’ success and accelerating business through growth.”
The foundation’s accelerator challenge aims to cultivate the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through accelerators that provide mentoring, access to resources and other services helping entrepreneurs scale their companies. Grant recipients are required to meet a funding match of Kauffman Foundation funds.
Victor Hwang, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, said that accelerators are key to a vibrant entrepreneurial community.
“Kansas City has many of the ingredients for a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs,” Hwang said in a release. “The KC Accelerator Challenge is part of the Kauffman Foundation’s comprehensive approach to address barriers that too many of our entrepreneurs face in Kansas City and the Midwest.”
Area accelerator organizations receiving grants and sponsorships are:
- Enterprise Center of Johnson County’s Investment Bootcamp
- Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program’s Amp Up
- Sprint Accelerator
- Techstars Kansas City
- Project United Knowledge
- Rightfully Sewn
- ScaleUp! Kansas City
The challenge is part of the Kauffman Foundation’s Zero Barriers movement, which is a national campaign to address barriers that entrepreneurs face. Another program within Zero Barriers is Inclusion Open, a grant program that aims to enable champions of underrepresented entrepreneurs to expand their services to topple barriers.